What are your motives for undertaking runs? If you’re like most Singaporean athletes, it feels good to know that as you undertake your fav sporting activity, others benefit from your effort. But there’s a deeper reason you experience a flood of satisfaction: scientists say your brain is wired for generosity so you’re already predisposed to say yes when a marathon or race come along that benefits others.

Behavioural scientists Michael Sanders and Francesca Tamma, writing for “The Guardian“, found that charitable people are more often ruled by their hearts than their heads. But when social interaction is added to the mix, those who are compelled to do charitable work literally become contagious. Their enthusiasm prompts other runners within a tight-knit community to join in.

Here’s a bonus for those of you who may feel skeptical: Your instincts—that running, and a healthy diet are the keys to staying fit—are likely to be bolstered by knowing that the same behavioural scientists studying philanthropy have also proven that spending money to improve other people’s lives keeps us healthier, too. Reason enough, we believe, to open both your heart and your wallet!

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Practical Ways to Choose a Charity or Cause to Support

A grand mum has cancer. A close friend was stricken by a car. A running club member has passed away, leaving an impoverished family. In each case, the charity or cause benefiting from an upcoming run is close to your heart. But the plethora of high-profile charitable races in Singapore may not offer you a personal motive to compete. With so many charities competing for your discretionary funds as event sponsors, how do you choose? You can use these 5 guidelines to help you decide:

  1. Pick an event that benefits the most number of people while also supporting your larger philosophical goals
  2. Check out a charity’s financials to see which ones funnel a major portion of event proceeds to constituents rather than to administrators
  3. Ascertain the credibility of the recipients of the funds generated by the sporting event you’re considering
  4. Apply accountability standards to make sure the event beneficiary has proper governance, effectiveness and oversight
  5. Make certain you can explain, in very few words, the objectives of the charity so you understand its mission
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8 Reasons It’s Important for Runners to Run for a Good Cause and Support Charities

  1. You’re already a role model for those who watch you achieve at events, so show the people looking up to you that you think of others, too.
  2. Your presence at a charitable event encourages fellow runners to emulate you.
  3. Your generosity is on display, so you show the world that you’re a serious, deep person who cares about more than getting medals or finishing first.
  4. It’s said that charity begins at home, but in case it doesn’t, you set an example to children who may never get this message during their young lives.
  5. You look better in the eyes of the opposite sex! No joke. Next to having a puppy or being kind to old ladies, your image as a selfless person goes up many notches.
  6. With every step, you raise awareness about a cause that otherwise might not be showcased were it not for the origination of a race or a marathon.
  7. You send a message that you’re neither shallow nor self-centered. To run on behalf of people who desperately need help shows you’ve got a generous spirit.
  8. You tell people that the sport of running “has a heart.” By opting for a schedule of competitions that come with a philanthropic bent, you elevate the sport you love to new heights.
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Need an opportunity to show the world you care?

A 8-day virtual run for a good cause is on the horizon. The Run For Animals Challenge officially kicks off on 4 October, in celebration of World Animal Day. You sign up at Spacebib to begin a philanthropic journey that’s fun and unique.

S$1 will be donated to ACRES, Animal Concerns Research & Education Society for each participant who completes the challenge. This initiative aims to improve animal welfare and ending animal suffering. The cause is important. Your participation is more important because it shows you care!

Do you always add at least one unspecified charity event to your annual running calendar, or are you driven exclusively by a charity’s goal before you are compelled to sign up?

Dr Vicky Lauren

Dr. Vicky Lauran is a certified holistic life coach and nutritionist, she also has 8 years' experience as a power yoga instructor and holds a Ph.D. in exercise, nutrition and health. She has worked with major online publishers like Web MD and Huffington Post and now is a residential contributor at RunSociety. She loves bringing what she knows to the community and hopes to help everyone on the road to happiness.

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